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2 and 3 are decent, as long as you don't have commenters trying to discuss something spammy (depends on the site community). #1 only works because your site isn't big enough for anybody to specifically target, though. I'm not saying it's bad (so long as it works, it's by definition at least "good enough"), just don't expect it to scale.

A system to solve problems like #1 was actually one of the very first tasks solved by early AI research. It was a PhD in MIT in 1964.


I should note that registered users get to skip the captcha. Right now the site gets around 1,500 visitors and 3,500 pages a day, and growth has been steady and incremental for some years.

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